No matter your skill level or time in the biz, there is always an element of anxiety when tasked with creating a presentation for your clients. The goal of this guide is to boost your confidence before facing off with clients with an outline for how to present data in a meaningful way.
First, there are important considerations to be made. Where will the presentation take place? Onsite at the client’s place of business? Screen-shared remotely? In your own place of business? The venue matters. Online or in your offices you’ll likely feel more at ease, whereas onsite can be more stressful. Additionally, there are many more unknowns onsite such as: what is their workplace attire policy? What kind of room will you be presenting in? Will there be adequate equipment made available to you, such as a functioning projector. Make sure to ask ahead of time to ensure that you have the tools and equipment you will need to be successful. Also, have the proper connectors in the event of a mac vs. PC situation. The key takeaways here are:
- Dress onsite the way your clients dress for work. You should always be working toward the goal of being considered a business partner of your client’s not just a vendor. What better way to play a part of the team than to wear their uniform?
- Back up your presentation on a thumb drive or in Google Docs. You never know when your computer will decide to implement its plan for your demise.
- Bring all possible doo-dads for connecting your computer to a projector, especially if you have a Mac. Don’t forget your charger.
- If you are screen-sharing, please, please, please, close out of any chat applications. You would hate for anything to pop up out of context while presenting that has the potential to embarrass you, or worse, have your client lose confidence in your professionalism. Also, don’t have a messy computer desktop or a million tabs open. While it doesn’t actually mean that you’re disorganized, it is certainly off-putting. I don’t know why okay, it just is
- Let your contact know that you will arrive at least 15 minutes early to set up and get your bearings. Doing this will prevent massive heart palpitations in the event that something goes awry. It will also provide extra time for a bio break should your nerves really get to you.
Unless you’re presenting your data via interpretive dance, chances are good that you will be presenting a deck. I have a client where I have regularly delivered onsite quarterly-reviews for the past two years. Over that time, we’ve refined our deck organization and content to a repeatable formula that would make Francis Bacon proud. While the framework is pre-determined, the meat of it tells a story that keeps the audience invested. Speaking of audiences, it is vitally important that you know ahead of time who will be in the room and to what length their digital marketing prowess extends. C-suite executives don’t care about the same things that a Marketing Director might. Make sure you:
- Know exactly who will be in attendance
- Tailor your material to whoever gets to decide if your continued work is beneficial to their business
- New Initiatives – focus on new optimizations, new tests that you intend to run, new features in a platform you will try, analyses you will perform… Starting with what’s fresh infuses a presentation with the right energy. Clients love to hear about the future of the industry and how their business can be a part of it.
- Performance Highlights – present your numerical data and provide analytical context. Focus on larger trends here. It’s not enough to say: “we saw conversion rates increase month over month for 3 months.” Instead, say: “As a result of aggressive bidding on high intent audiences, we were able to more efficiently turn clicks into conversions.”
- Review the previous period’s initiatives and their effectiveness- Show your tactics in this section and how they played out individually. Include data on the performance of individual tests, bidding strategies, creative results…
- Next Steps & Questions – outline exactly what you will need to implement your proposed new initiatives and receive questions from your audience.
Another benefit to this deck formula is that it serves as a guide for your account management and prevents you from becoming stagnant in your work. Proposing new ideas and regularly reporting on them shows initiative and attention to your client’s business needs.
Final Words of Advice
- Practice going through your deck at least once so you have a feel for how long it is. There’s nothing worse than creating a stunning deck and only getting through half of it.
- Have your deck ready at least 1 week prior to presenting and allow at least one person from the client-side to review it. They are going to have the best feedback as they know who will be in the room and what their style is. If it is too uncomfortable to ask for this feedback, have a co-worker review. I would never recommend presenting an un-reviewed deck to anyone.
The best thing you can do before any deck presentation is be prepared and remember that you are the expert and this is your moment to bring attention to all of the hard work you’ve been doing.